Delhi High Court Dismisses Plea Against Broadcasting Of ‘Shamshera’ Film: No Copyright in Idea or Themes

The Delhi High Court dismissed an appeal seeking an interim injunction against the streaming and broadcasting of the film “Shamshera” in a petition filed by certain Bikramjeet Singh Bhullar, who claimed that the film infringed on his copyrighted script “Kabu na chhadein Khet.”

Justice Jyoti Singh stated that there could be no copyright in ideas and themes but added that her remarks would have no bearing on the trial or final judgement of Bhullar’s copyright infringement claim on the merits.

Justice Singh rejected the plea stating that themes such as father-son stories in which the two look alike, the use of children, birds, hot oil, horses, underground tunnels, and so on are every day in most Bollywood films and that agreeing with Bhullar’s claim would amount to granting a monopoly over ideas, which would be contrary to established legal principals.

With that background, the Court held that, “the ideas in the script of the Plaintiff cannot be given copyright protection and more so in the stock elements. A comparison of the script and the impugned film does not leave an impression that one is a substantial copy of the other.”

This ruling reaffirms the principle that copyright protection does not extend to ideas, themes, or plots, but only to the expression of these ideas.

A copy of the order can be accessed here.

Bombay HC Restrains Mumbai Hotel from Playing Copyrighted Songs On New Year’s Eve Without PPL License

The Bombay High Court has granted ad-interim relief to Phonographic Performance Ltd. (PPL) by restraining Kamakazi Solution Pvt. Ltd. to play repertoire of 400 music labels with more than 45 lakh international and domestic sound recordings at a hotel in Mumbai.

The Court observed, “In my view, in the absence of ad-interim relief, the Plaintiff will suffer grave irreparable loss. A prima facie case made out of the likelihood of infringement of the Plaintiff copyrighted works. This Court is of the prima facie view that the balance of convenience is in favour of the Plaintiff and the Defendants have chosen not to make an appearance despite service. Hence, the ad-interim relief is being granted

A copy of the order can be accessed here.

Delhi HC directs Ministry of Information and Broadcasting: Consider uploading fresh copy of film ‘Jawan’ with accessibility features on OTT platforms

The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has been requested by the Delhi High Court to upload a fresh version of Jawan, starring Shah Rukh Khan, in order to emphasize the value of adding accessibility features in the movie’s OTT version.

The application was moved by Akshat Baldwa submitting that the film ‘Jawan’ was already released theatrically as well as on OTT platforms and insofar as the film ‘Hi Papa’ was concerned, the OTT release was to take place in March 2024. It was submitted that the accessibility features were not being followed on OTT platforms, therefore, a direction should be issued that on OTT platforms, features should be made available for persons with disabilities.

In this regard, the Court opined that since it was easier to replace a particular copy of the film on OTT, uploading a fresh copy of the film ‘Jawan’ with accessibility features on OTT platforms should be considered.

The Court directed the I&B Ministry to submit a status report before the hearing of the matter on  31 January 2024.

A copy of the order can be accessed here.

Delhi High Court rejects TV Today plea against MIB order to run apology scrolls for displaying liquor ads

The Delhi High Court dismissed a petition filed by TV Today Network (which runs news channels Aaj Tak and India Today among others) challenging a Government order dated June 14, 2022  directing the media network to run apologies scrolls in bold, legible font at the bottom of the screen four times a day for three consecutive days between 9 AM and 9 PM for broadcasting liquor commercials of 100 Pipers Music CDs and All Seasons Club Soda on its news channels.

The Court rejected the plea noting that TV Today had clearly violated Rule 7 (Advertising Code) of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 by displaying the logo of ‘100 Pipers’ while displaying an advertisement for 100 Pipers Music CDs.

The Court observed “The display of the logo of ‘100 Pipers’ would thus appear to be in contravention of that Rule. Since the provisions of Rule 7 has not been complied with, the contention of the learned Counsel for the Petitioner that they had proceeded in good faith on the basis of the CBFC [Central Board of Film Certification] certificate which was submitted by the advertiser cannot be accepted as the Rules do not permit the broadcaster to independently ascertain the veracity of the clip that is provided by the advertiser,”

Regarding  the issue of running the ‘All Seasons Club Soda’ advertisement, the Court found that the said advertisement was not even certified by the CBFC.

A copy of the order can be accessed here.

Government issues advisory to social media platforms on deep fake menace

The Government has issued another advisory to all social media and internet intermediaries, seeking strict compliance with the existing IT rules, specifically targeting growing concerns around information powered by deepfake technology.

Over the next few weeks, “the IT ministry will closely observe the compliance of these advisories by social media and internet intermediaries and make amendments to the IT Rules or law if required”, minister of state for electronics and information technology Chandrasekhar said.

Click here to view the advisory

Complaint filed against Ranbir Kapoor for ‘hurting religious sentiments’ in viral Christmas video

A complaint has been filed against actor Ranbir Kapoor and his family members in Mumbai for allegedly hurting religious sentiments. The bone of contention is a viral video from the family’s annual Christmas party in which Kapoor was heard saying “Jai Mata Di” after pouring liquor on a cake.

Read more about it here.

New York Times sues Open AI and Microsoft for using its stories to train its chatbots

The New York Times becomes the first major media organisation to sue OpenAI, creator of the popular artificial-intelligence platform ChatGPT, and Microsoft, an OpenAI investor and creator of the AI platform now known as Copilot, over the unauthorized use of published work to train artificial intelligence technologies.

As per NYT article, the suit does not include an exact monetary demand. But it says the defendants should be held responsible for “billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages” related to the “unlawful copying and use of The Times’s uniquely valuable works.” It also calls for the companies to destroy any chatbot models and training data that use copyrighted material from The Times.

Read more about it here.

Mickey Mouse entering into public domain in 2024

The earliest iterations of Mickey Mouse along with other iconic Disney characters will join the public domain for the first time on January 01, 2024.

The first movies in which the iconic mouse appeared were Steamboat Willie and the silent version of Plane Crazy, both made in 1928 and works from that year go into the public domain in the US on New Year’s Day in 2024. However, the later versions of the characters like those in the 1940 film, ‘Fantasia’ are not in public domain.

Read here for more details.